Mar 112012

At the crack of dawn this morning, we were watching and listening to a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, drumming away and really knocking hell out  of some dead ash trees.

It was a superb morning, clear blue skies and bright spring sunshine. The celandines and primroses were out and bluebells are well on their way, shooting through the leaf litter. Spring Wood is not far from my home and is superb for woodland birds. All three woodpeckers, plus  Nuthatch & Tree Creeper can all be seen here relatively easy, provided one puts in time and is patient. A Curlew flew over and several Bullfinch were about. Also several Buzzard and a pair of Mandarin flew over the Dimmingsdale end of Staunton Harold Reservoir. Mandarin seem to be more frequently seen in this area of South Derbyshire. What a great start to the morning.
During the previous week there had been several Bittern giving views at Attenborough Nature Reserve, only a 20 minute drive away. Attenborough is an excellent place for wildlife and regularly gets several over wintering Bittern. It is also a good place to photograph a variety of common birds. It is easy to spend a full day here, especially in the spring, when the first migrants begin to arrive. 
To-day, however, it was to be a brief visit. Four Red Crested Pochards were on the first pit, these birds seemed a bit suspect to me. 
Several Cetti’s Warbler were in full song and one particular bird was very showy. Quiet unusual for a Cetti’s, they are usually skulking and present only by a blast of their powerful song. As we were watching the Cetti’s and a nearby pair of Long-tailed Tits building a nest, the Bittern appeared and showed well for about 5 minutes, before quietly merging back into the bull rushes and reed bed.
Several Year Ticks to move my list on to  146
IMAGES – No:1 Bittern / No:2 Red Crested Pochard / No:3 & 4 Long-tailed Tit / No:5 Magpie/ No:6 Reed Bunting- male
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